Quaker hallowed hush

One-time Quaker Meeting House, Waterford. My poem written from 1971 memories of attending Meeting because it was radically different to liturgical denominations. There was a badminton court in a side room also, which held attraction as well as the “real coffee” (probably Nescafe!)…

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On Sundays we co-eds confidently strode

out granite pillared gates and down the road,

past De La Salle, dogmatic in adherence,

Catholic college, grumpy in appearance;

boasting boys freely mingled, flirted

with fellow form girls, colourful skirted.

 

No crocodile lines, no prefect chaperone,

our travel to church trusted, past old stone

tower and family-owned quayside shops;

bells boomed, chimed the civic clock;

bored by long services, supposedly divine,

sermons irrelevant, no blessings benign.

 

Meeting-house worship I next explored,

long-silence loved, struck kindred chord;

sporadic extempore parables spoken

by either gender, the floor was open

to all,  Friendly-philosophy expounded,

poems recited, no pulpit to be pounded.

 

The Quaker-hallowed hush readily wooed,

tenuous teen belief in God got re-glued;

revered room simple, no decorative mark,

radial-arranged benches, all spartan stark,

less religious service, more co-op class –

and afterward Bewley’s coffee…unsurpassed!

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hide and seek among bookcases

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catch dream delightful nasal whiff,

antique calf covers, pungent pages,

sentimental this second-hand sniff,

older books witness to past ages.

 

second-hand bookshop unassuming,

frontage design from yester-year,

author arguments begin booming,

old fashioned, biblio atmosphere.

 

piles of books, passage near-blocked,

some covers warped, or detached,

some printed contents worm-pocked,

older authors not quickly despatched.

 

heritage honoured with due respect,

past authors offered warm embraces,

many ideas on pages freckle-specked

playing hide and seek among bookcases.

Lucky the onlooker

photo: Dora Kazmierak  www.instagram.com/dorakazmierak/

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Morning mirror, first critical stare,

then wonder-woven her plaited hair:

I’m gut punched – such creative care.

 

Humming and hawing but never plain,

memorably brushed her gamine mane:

I’m drab dullard, alpha-male brain.

 

Blessed by such girlish grace,

blond strands woven, ply in place:

please turn around, show shy face.

 

Lucky onlooker when braids unbind:

quaking as tumbling tresses unwind,

intoxicated man, unbalanced in mind…